Urbanization, capital accumulation and the state

McDonald, Michael (1979) Urbanization, capital accumulation and the state. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The analysis begins by stressing the necessity to analyse the urban system before the role of the local state can itself be understood. The urban system is seen not simply as a production site and the importance of circulation is stressed both for the continued reproduction of capital and for the analysis of the urban system. The distribution between the role (function) and the nature of the city is introduced in Chapter 1 as is the need to appreciate that sociological analysis must attempt to analyse the actions of social agents, but within a structural framework, and it is suggested that these structural laws can only be fully explained by a historical materialist analysis. Chapter 2 discusses the application of historical materialist theory to concrete situations. Two different Marxist approaches are discussed and, although a focus on the dynamics of the consumption/ reproduction sphere had been the main concern of Marxist analyses of the state, it is suggested that both are linked. The limitations of orthodox economic analysis of the urban system is also demonstrated. It is further suggested in this Chapter that there is a need to focus attention on the tendency and capacity of the capitalist mode of production to itself generate the conditions necessary for its continued existence. The "division of labour" among capitals is introduced and the role finance and property capital play in both stabilizing in times of crisis and otherwise securing the general conditions necessary for capital accumulation is demonstrated. The particular nature of the profits of property capital is shown to have an effect on the shaping of urban space. Finally, the potential contradictions which would arise from the "unmediated" dynamics of capitalist accumulation are suggested. The functional role of the city for capital accumulation is demonstrated in Chapter 3 as are certain obstacles to the achievement of this role. Lojkine's analysis of these obstacles is used to demonstrate the weaknesses of those Marxist theories whose principle explanatory device in explaining both genesis and nature of a phenomenon is the labour theory of value. The distinction between surplus value and profit is introduced and it is suggested that it is both mistaken and unnecessary to attempt to explain both genesis and subsequent functions of a phenomenon by a single all-embracing theory. This distinction is reiterated and expanded upon in Chapter 4. It is shown that orthodox theories can be used to explain certain aspects of a phenomenon while at the same time requiring to be complemented by Marxian analysis. A classification of state expenditure is proposed in Chapter 5 and certain of the functions undertaken by the local state are referred to. It is shown that there is overlap between the services and facilities provided and the functions they perform. However, it is contended that state expenditures cannot be explained simply in terms of these functions and that it is necessary to analyze why the state undertakes such functions and what are the determinants on their provision. Both Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 demonstrate how orthodox analysis cannot fully explain the last point. The remaining part of this work is concerned with examining Marxist analyses of the state and the determinants on its actions. Certain aspects of such analysis are criticized and alternative approaches are tentatively proposed.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: G C Cameron
Keywords: Political science, Urban planning
Date of Award: 1979
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1979-74164
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/74164

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